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Cole's Page
pic of cole
(Click pics for larger images!)

Mom: "He looks fantastic, Thanks again for using him, it is an honor!!!"

Cole is a great kid I have the pleasure of trying to help in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.  He's doing great at my Spell-A-Word!  He's vocal and somewhat verbal.  He has significant physical challenges which make typing difficult. And he's developmentally delayed, functioning at a younger-than-chronological age.

But socially, he's a delight, and he's very motivated to succeed!  And he taught ME a few things!  Click here to go to info about the pointing tool.

image of cole on mondayimage of cole 2 on monday
Cynthia, his classroom teacher, asked me to come in and see if there was any way to set up his BigKeys (colored rows/QWERTY version) on his Slantboard better than the way she had it on the pullout tray.  Cole was having to over-target keys, thereby expending too much energy.  Regardless of his targeting, he was still hitting all sorts of accidental keys.

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On Wednesday, 6/4/08, I visited with him, bringing my Mini-Arm and Device Adapter, thinking that if I could get BigKeys lower down and closer to him, he would tire less.  I positioned BigKeys over his knees and almost flat.  He had been using a pencil as a pointer (above left), since he uses a fisted hand. 

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After changing his grip on the pencil, we agreed it was easier for him.

image of cole 3
 But he had to tilt his head down a bit too much for me, to have any type of hand/eye coordination.

image of wed 1
So I changed the angle of the BigKeys (the Mini-Arm allows infinite adjustment) and this kept him much more upright.  I also tried to tilt/twist the keyboard to accommodate the new pencil grip I tried with him, for the new keyboard position.

image of thurs 3

I went back on Thursday with a BigKeys keyguard and a special pointer stick I had adapted.  With the new pointer stick, I could position the BigKeys in front again; this improved his posture!  Note the pointer stick emerging from his upper knuckles above.  Because of the keyguard, his accidental keypresses were drastically reduced.  And his targeting didn't have to be as exact, because the danger of pressing keys accidentally was reduced.

image of pointerimage of thurs 4
But it still wasn't perfect (or as perfect as I like ;-)  So I positioned the pointer stick so that it would emerge from his middle knuckles.  This was much more natural for him.  I also increased his distance from the keyboard a bit (note the distance between his knees and BigKeys in this pic versus the previous one).  It's only a few inches difference, but it really helped.  The issue was that when BigKeys was in close to him, he had better fine motor, but decreased range.  Put BigKeys back where it was before I came, and it was too high and far from him; he had decreased fine motor farther from his body, although his range was increased.  I had to find the perfect combo of all factors: distance from keyboard, angle of keyboard, height of keyboard, & angle of pointer.

Learn more about Cole's Pointer below ( and how to get one free!)

image of cole at end 1image of cole finally 2
But now, always seeking the inexpensive route to go, I note that BigKeys is in a *very* similar position to where it started!  So I'm ending up with just adding the keyguard and pointer!  We don't have any flexibility anymore, because we removed the Mini-Arm, but since we ended up in approximately the same position as started, it's OK.  But that does NOT mean it's going to be OK for YOUR users!  If you can't get the right positioning with your table/desk, then PLEASE consider the Mini-Arm or Magic Arm and a Device Adapter.

image of cole and joystick 1image of cole and joystick 2
We moved on to mouse control and mounted my SAM-Joystick to the Mini-Arm.  Immediate success!  Here he is playing First Mazes, part of my Joystick (& Mouse) Trainer. Once again, the Mini-Arm and Device Adapter allowed us to find that perfect distance for that tricky fine motor/range 'equation'.

Mom and Cynthia (teacher) say it's OK to contact them to see how he's doing (mom OK'd all the pics above).  Great mom, eh?  Click here to email mom. and here to email Cynthia (teacher).

And not to miss someone actually 'getting' me, here are some comments from Cynthia about my involvement.  The first paragraph I had asked how it's going.  The second is unsolicited, and greatly appreciated! ;-)
"IT's going great!! The hand piece you made for Cole is great!  I think the slant board works great and I need the key guard for all the kids...

By the way thanks for all you do for my kids, you have made an incredible difference in their lives!! I mean that. I am so glad that you have set up my classroom for success! I am very thankful that I have you to help me be a better teacher!"

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